Black Toad Dark Ale | Black Toad Brewing Co.

252 Reviews
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Black Toad Dark AleBlack Toad Dark Ale

Brewed by:
Black Toad Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 08-28-2002

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Reviews: 252 | Ratings: 478
Photo of daliandragon
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up this week at Trader Joe's in Cary for ninety two cents, for which I'll try just about any silly beer with an animal on the label (Jumping Cow, Fat Weasel, etc.) This one pours a nice even dark brown with maroon highlights and a solid beige colored head with streaky lacing. Nose is creamy coffee and faint fruit.

Satisfying, surprisingly complex flavor with figs or maybe prunes mixing with the base coffee tones and a bit of smoked meat and a general creaminess. Mouthfeel could stand thickening but certainly doesn't embarrass itself. This is a pleasant surprise and definitely will be a regular when I make pilgrimages up to Cary for organic fruit and tofurky.

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Photo of rawla
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Best By Date bottle of 06/15/2012 into a goblet.

1.10 bottle at Trader Joe's. I figured, what the hell. Some of the TJ brews are okay-good. I'd rather spend it on a new brew than chips.

Okay, review time

A: Pours a amber-brown cola hue. Very minimal carbonation off the bottle, but a decent 1 inch head. Small lacing.

S: Prunes, Oak, and some smoked cherry notes. Nothing too over the top.

T: IMPRESSIVE taste coming off this. Very reminiscent of a Spaten Optomator.. Aged Cherrywood, Toasted Oates hit you on the initial sip, with a clean dry finish. I was taken aback by the quality of this Dark Ale for the price point I bought it for.

M: A slightly sweet resin throughout the drinking experience. Otherwise, light and straightforward.

O: I wasn't expecting much out of this bottle, but I could have had it fooled for a quality dark German ale. Maybe it's the yeast, or conscious effort put into the malts; a delicious offering regardless of the circumstances. A 5.99 price point for a 6 pack is icing on the cake. Very drinkable and affordable quality beer.

A SOLID A. Try it, or buy a case worth for your next party. $

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Photo of raoulduke25
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This has always been a favourite of mine. The pour is dark and smooth with a light head. The smell is slightly sweet with heavy malts.

The taste is what makes this beer. It is heavy in flavour without being heavy in alcohol. The flavour is strong, malty, thick, and robust.

I have never given this beer to somebody who didn't like it. It is definitely a popular beer at parties, and for the price, it's hard to complain. Definitely a buy; definitely something to keep in stock.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Poured a nutty brown with a few ruby hints. Had a one and a half finger head that receded to a foamy film with some light foam sticking on the side.

Smell- A litle cream detection, but mostly a mild nutty arome with a little malt penetrates the nose.

Taste- First you notice a distinct hazelnutty hops flavor which then moves on to a roasty, creamy malt character and ends with just a creamy general nut nuance.

Mouthfeel- Overall a very craemy and nutty palate. The nuts stay with the tongue the longest. A little dry as well.

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Photo of zuggy9
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This ale pours a very dark, near stout, color with nice head and some lacing. The smell is roasted malt and is nice. The taste is solid, with a good nuts and chocolate quality that doesn't finish harshly. The mouthfeel is a bit watery for my tastes, but all in all this ale drinks well and I enjoy it on occasion.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany with chestnut hues and a foamy, tan head.

Aromas of dark malt waft from the glass, which are a touch roasty, and a touch nutty.

More roasted malt is featured in the flavor, a touch coffee like, perhaps a hint charred, but also nutty sweet.

This dark ale is on the lighter side in body with medium carbonation and although it is a touch thin, it is quite crisp and tasty.

I was pretty impressed with this beer; it had a nice combination of roasted malt and sweet nut character that I had hoped it would offer and it was extremely drinkable.

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Photo of theteleman
3.94/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass from a bottle purchased at Trader Joes in Carmel Mountain CA. Amberish dark brown in appearance with a big fluffy head that retains excellent lacing as you sip on the brew. Smells like toffee, caramel, pretty swet scent on the nose. Mouthfeel is smooth and silky the nose is deceptive, was expecting a sweeter taste, but this is very balanced, earthy and malty in taste. First time trying anything from Black Toad Brewing, this was a pleasent brew.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this at Trader Joes just to try. didn't have super high hopes but i liked the label. pours brown but not opaque. nice head, great long lacing. smalls yeasty, like bread. also some malty odor. Taste is like roasted males at first, then nutty. a hint of molasses and caramel and a rich chocolate aftertaste. tastes a bit like a watered down stout, but in a good way. smooth mouthfeel. carbonation is present but not striking. slides easily down the throat. Great drinkability. this is a session beer if i've ever had one. not sure if i would call this a porter though. that's not the exact style i would select, although im not sure exactly what i would call it. if i was reviewing it as a porter it would get lower marks, i think. definitely worth a try.

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Photo of asabreed
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Fairly light for a Porter, with an off-white head and little lacing aside from streak-hints of such.

Smell: Mild black coffee, roasted malt sweetness, low-end bitter chocolate, and some citrus. Balanced and complex enough to enjoy.

Taste: Roasted malts, dark bitter chocolate, a hint of black coffee. Finish is mild black coffee for the most part, with a bit of roasted malt sweetness. Also there's an interesting hint of orange candied citrus going on, which adds a cool element to the overall experience.

Mouthfeel: A bit watery and thin for the most part, though it doesn't hurt the flavors coming through as much as I thought it would initially.

Drinkability: A decent Porter for the price. Could be a little darker and have more flavor, but that would of course jack up the price. And it's light enough to drink on a summer day without being too thick or overpowering. I'd drink it again.

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Photo of blakesell
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Trader Joe's beer, always an interesting endeavor, and hit or miss most times running on the miss category. But not this time.

Poured from the 12oz twist off cap bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a amber dark brown with a decently pillowy one and a half finger head leaving behind a bit of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell- Roasted malts and hard water with a slight hint of nobility in the hops department. I would call the malt more caramel than black malt. Slightly bready.

Taste- Once again hard water is upfront with roast malts and a nice tongue coating maltiness that is lightly burnt. Very dry and roasty on the finish and smooth for easy drinking. Hops are lightly bittering.

Mouthfeel- Medium light bodied, evenly carbonated, not warming or astringent.

Drinkability- Very smooth and very affordable considering the Trader Joes pricing. Most of my beers cost the price of an entire sixer of this stuff. Very good for the swilling or cooking needs.

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Photo of mwagner1018
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark deep black amber with a slight red hue.
Pours with a light milk chocolate froth head, dissipates quickly.
A nice swirl reinvigorates the head, and opens up the aromatics.

S- Roasted sweet malt, raisin, plum, slight banana ester.

T- Slight chocolate bitterness, coffee, raisin, mild alcohol
and a fresh coconut essence, with a light bitterness to finish.

M- Medium high carbonation, light crispness.

D- Good drinkable beer, smooth enough to have a couple, complicated
with enough depth to keep me interested.

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Photo of tai4ji2x
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from trader joe's, with best by date of 06/07/09. tasted in mid-late march, 2009

dark brown w red ruby tint. gemstone clarity under the light. tand head is relatively thick, then fades to wispy layer and ring, then eventually nothing. very thin lacing up top, then some slightly thicker rings, then nothing for the bottom part of the glass.

aroma: faint estery fruitiness (dried fruit) and gentle dark caramel and roasted malt. grassy hop and charred malt whiff, with subtle notes of coffee.

taste: combination of roasted malt, caramel, coffee notes. hint of grassy hop, with moderate bitterness (both from hops and roasted malt), then trace of fruit or molasses, into acidic coffee tones, and then moderate coffee-like bitterness.

light to medium body, some astringency and acidity in the finish. carbonation is prickly but not overdone.

not bad for the price.

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Photo of jadpsu
3.91/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a keep bronw with a tan head that has excellent side glass lace and average head retention.
Aroma: Sweet malts, some roasty malts, mollasses ant nuttiness.
Taste; Follows the aroma , maltiness, roasty breads with the caramel and some cocoa.
Hops are not evident.
Mouthfeel: Carbonation is noticable, creamy.
Good brown or dark ale. Loved the malts.

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Photo of needsmorehops
3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber-dark amber color. Pours a good, dark cream-colored head, with large bubbles. Good laces. Good carbonation.

Medium body with good mouthfeel.

Bready, yeasty, somewhat fruity aroma, with slightly resiny notes.

Dark malt is the predominate taste, balanced with hops. Nutty and somewhat chocolatey. Sweet but slightly bitter with a distinct note of burnt sugar.

Would be good with roasted meats. Could go well with a dessert provided it wasn't too rich.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - reddish mahogany hues to this beer. A thin light mocha cap sprays a few lines of lace around, but no more. It drops readily and holds for a while at a thin cover.

Aroma - roasted patent malts, slightly sweet. Little else, it's a plain but fragrant porter.

Taste - roasted malts with a hint of black coffee. Prickly swallow, the toastiness giving way to some dark chocolate flavor on the aftertaste. Simple and tasty, kudos for a straight up tasting porter.

Mouthfeel - average, with peppy carbonation.

Drinkability - a tasty brew that I would recommend to fans of the essential porter.

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Photo of andrewmartin
3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single of this at Trader Joe's, figured I'd give it a whirl.

A: Pretty impressive near black color with nice tan head

S: Clear roasted malts with, for lack of a better term, notes of sugary chocolate

T: Big roasted malt dominates the palate, classic porter. Some chocolate and coffee flavors, bu roasted malts are the main attraction

M: Nice and sharp from the roasted malts

D: As far as I am concerned, this is an absolutely perfect sessions porter-enough flavor to keep things interesting, but easy drinking as well.

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Photo of Jimbo87
3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

In a US pint glass.

Dark brown, hazy, pale head.

Smell: Roasted malt, coffee, slight fruit.

Taste: same as nose. Hops are detectable in a bitter enough finish.

MF: pretty thin, good carbonation.

Very drinkable. A very good beer. I highly recommend picking up a bottle to try the next time you're at Trader Joe's. It's a great deal, being 5.99 a sixer.

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Photo of whatthehull
3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasted June 25th 2011 (from notes)

Poured into a la Chouffe tulip

A - very black, three finger tan head and some lacing

S - coffee, chocolate, toasted everything, malts, sweet molasses, vanilla bean and lots of earth

T - molasses, deep toasted malts, light carmel, coffee, chocolate and a slight hop

M - medium chewy, medium body, low acidity, well balanced and nice complexity

D - tastes great, not to heavy, lots of flavor and goes down like butter

Final thought - $5 a sixer and 5+ABV and tastes great. Not bad at all

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Photo of mghotbi
3.89/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful coffee color with thin tan head and no visible lacing. Smells of creamed coffee and chocolate with faint hints of figs and raisins. One of the best smelling beers ever!

Taste is lovely chocolate and coffee and dried fruits with mild to moderate sweetness and faint tail of resinous hops. The roasted flavors dominate but come to a nearly pinpoint dry finish with only a lingering coffee aroma. Alcohol must be mild as it is very masked indeed.

Mouthfeel is creamy with just a hint of carbonation contributing to the thickness.

Very drinkable. Recommend you pick this up. The point of origin suggests to me that it's brewed by Goose Island.

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Photo of Troyone
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A twisty that poured a black color with a hint of an amber hue, minimal tan head, no visible sediment, and can't see tha action.

Maybe a sour roasted malt aroma.

Sweet roasted malt taste with some grapefruit flavored hops.

Medium/full bodied, resinous, with soft carbonation.

This is a good session beer, good as a Brown Ale and well balanced. Keep an eye out on the date for twisties.

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Photo of neenerzig
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First of all I highly doubt that this beer is an American Porter (as it is currently classified by this site) because it clearly says dark ale on the bottle's label. This beer pours a fairly dark brown color with a tan head about 1/2 to 2/3 of an inch thick that shrinks in size pretty quickly, eventually becoming nothing more than a ring along the inside of the glass. Leaves some decent lacing though. Aromas of nut and some malt are surely present along with some roasted coffee also present. Has a slightly sweet, roasted nut and coffee like taste as well. one reason that I find it hard to believe this is a porter is because of its taste and mouthfeel. Most porters I have had tend to be at least a bit more bitter than this beer and they also tend to have a more full bodied mouthfeel than this beer. This beer has a crisp, clean, but also slightly thin and perhaps watery mouthfeel. Has a medium bodied mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Quite easy to drink though. Not a bad beer by any means either. A good solid beer for sure.


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Photo of GossageBrewery
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This English Brown Ale was poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The Beer pours a dark brown color. It produces an underwelming amount of head that quickly dissipates. Head Retention is very much below average. The beer is under carbonated Lacing is below average. Low marks for appearance. The news does get a little better with the smell, deep aroma of chocolate and coffee come through. The taste is surprisingly good, a deep roasted malt flavor that gives way to chocolate and coffee. There is also a nice "nut" flavor that is present. The finish is "warming" and has a nice hop bitterness about it. The mouthfeel is a medium body that is typical for an English Brown Ale. This is a very nice session beer- it's a lot bigger then say New Castle, which many consider the flagship for English Brown Ales. Overall pretty good beer- and did I mention that it is contract brewed by Goose Island?

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Photo of BreweryRun
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very dark brown ale, from Trader Joe's, poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

Smells fairly sweet, with hints of coffee and chocolate.

Taste is less sweet than the smell but not overly so. Notes of unsweetened chocolate and toasted bread. I'm enjoying it quite a bit. Sweetness comes out a little more as it warms which I'm not crazy about but still good.

A very solid brown that I would have again, great price, and easy to get a hold of.

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Photo of Flightoficarus
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer at Trader Joes

A - Pours a dark, chestnut brown, with a single finger off-white head. Retention and lacing are pretty solid.

S - Smell is of robust molasses, brown sugar, and caramel maltiness. Some lightly floral balancing hops.

T - Taste is of roasted, bready brown sugar and caramel malts. Mild, slightly fruity balance from the hops. While a pretty straight-forward brown ale, the flavor here is pretty remarkable for such an inexpensive beer!

M - Very smooth. Light carbonation. Medium body.

O - I have to round this one up a bit, simply for the fact this is probably the best "budget micro" I've come across. Very solid, malty brown ale for BMC cost. Well done!

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Photo of cswhitehorse
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The black toad comes with a freshness date on the back and pours a see through dark amber that leaves very little foam on the sides of the glass and a head that stays a second or two.

The aroma of the dark ale is a roasty toasty malt. The taste is chocolate that is pretty smooth. It is a good balance between the roastiness and the hops. It is a great deal at 4.99 a six pack.

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Black Toad Dark Ale from Black Toad Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 252 ratings.